Qatar hope to learn from Copa America sojourn, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Qatar hope to learn from Copa America sojourn

Qatar head into their first Copa America with a young team riding high following their Asian Cup triumph, but humbled by "higher-calibre" competition than they encountered in the continental meet they hosted in January.

Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said the tournament would be a significant step in their journey towards the 2022 World Cup which they will host.

"We'll play against experienced teams that are certainly of a higher calibre than what we saw at the Asian tournament," he said in an interview with Fifa ahead of the tournament in Brazil.

"Our group includes Argentina, whose abilities are well known, and Colombia, who are exceptionally good performers, whether at World Cups or the Copa America. Paraguay also boast a pedigreed history.

"These matches will serve as an important gauge for me and the players."


Hoping to make an impact at the tournament is Qatar forward Almoez Ali, whose bicycle-kick goal helped bring home the Asian Cup.

"We're not expecting to win... Asia is the weakest continent for football, so in the Copa America we will learn more," he said.

The Copa America gets underway on Saturday morning (Singapore time), with hosts Brazil looking for their first title since 2007.

Qatar are one of two countries invited to make up the required 12 teams for the South American continental championship, the other being Japan, who have named a young side to gain experience ahead of next year's Tokyo Olympics.